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In Elia Kazan's film, On The Waterfront, how does Edie begin the process of influencing...

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xinchaoyo | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 2) Honors

Posted April 12, 2012 at 8:07 AM via web

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In Elia Kazan's film, On The Waterfront, how does Edie begin the process of influencing Terry?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted April 12, 2012 at 9:37 AM (Answer #1)

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Prior to meeting Edie, Terry was quite content, or at least ignorant, in being silent and part of the group that enables Friendly to maintain power.  Edie bursts onto the scene, shaming Father Barry and proving to be the one voice of dissent in a world of conformity.  Terry is taken back with both who she is and how she carries herself.  Her influence over Terry starts at this point.  Terry begins to recognize that the only way that he will become close to her is to be fundamentally different from the world in which they both live.  Edie's influence is seen over Terry in how he begins to question the world and his place in it.  Terry's fundamental examination of his values and actions starts with Edie's influence. The fact that he becomes taken with her is representative of her influence over him.  I think that Terry recognizes the need to change as a result of his interactions with Edie, reflecting the influence that she has over him in his transformation.  When he does testify, Edie's influence over him has clearly defined Terry against the world of life at the docks.  Terry recognizes clearly that he must continue to stand for what is right because he now not only stands for himself but for the way that Edie views him and this becomes the penultimate example of how she influences him.

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